The Tone 5 Prokeimenon Melody

This melody is used to sing prokeimena in Tone 5. The tone 5 Alleluia is sung to a simpler version of the same melody.

Please note: This article assumes you are familiar with the material taught in the MCI Online course, Introduction to Church Singing. If you have difficulty reading the music notation, please review the MCI website articles on musicianship.

The Sunday prokeimenon and Alleluia

The tone 5 prokeimenon which is sung most frequently is the prokeimenon of the Resurrection in tone 5, which is sung before the epistle reading every eighth Sunday throughout the year, as part of the cycle of eight tones. It can be found on page 148 in our Divine Liturgies book. This prokeimenon should be memorized.


Omitting the initial few tricky notes and begining at "preserve us", the same melody is used to sing the Alleluia in Tone 5:


The prokeimenon starts of re and the Alleluia on ti, and anyone who has learned the earlier prokeimena in the cycle of eight tones will only need to worry about the opening notes.

The form of the melody

The Tone 5 prokeimenon melody consists of three phrases, which are sung in order, without repetition.

The first phrase of the prokeimenon begins with a slightly strange pattern of notes, resembling nothing so much as the opening notes of Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa. It seems entirely possibly that, at one time, the melody was somewhat simpler, with no accidentals:

Then, to fit a longer phrase, some place-holder notes were added at the beginning, taking it farther from the Allelulia:

Finally, the tonic pitch do was sharped (to di) as sometimes happens in the prostopinije tradition; this means there must be a natural inserted later to keep the remaining notes on the same pitch:

If you can sing the first few notes correctly and get as far as the ti - do - re - mi (same as the start of the Alleluia), the first phase is not very hard. Just watch out for the eighth notes followed by a half note; the half note should be twice as long as the two eighth notes TOGETHER.

The second phrase is a simpler scale, up then down. The only hard part is the leap of a fifth getting there from the end of the first phrase:

The third phrase one we have seen before:

It is practically identical to the final phrase of the Tone 3 prokeimenon melody:

AND the Tone 4 prokeimenon melody.

So the primary difference between several of the prokeimenon melodies is the beginning; the endings are sometimes very similar.

Other examples

The Divine Liturgies book only contains one other prokeimenon in Tone 5, the daily prokeimenon for Vespers on Wednesday evenings:


Remember to start this melody brightly, on mi.

Singing the prokeimenon and Alleluia verse(s)

Normally, the verses of prokeimena and Alleluia are sung by a single voice using a simple recitative melody. The ordinary choice for this melody is the usual psalm tone, beginning on do. This means that the one singing the prokeimenon verses must start a half step up from the final note of the prokeimenon or Alleluia:

Listen to the recording of the Sunday prokeimenon to see how this sounds.